Posts Tagged ‘pear’
So, because last weekend wasn’t going to be busy enough, I felt the need to have people round for brunch on Sunday. It’s a good thing I’m cute when I’m getting ready for parties or I’d be so, so dumped. It’s also a good thing half my guests bailed at the last minute; the ones that DID show up were HUNGRY.
Anyway, I planned on doing my usual brunch menu: Eggs Mornay, bacon, biscuits, asparagus vinaigrette, coffee cake, and fruit salad. But, with fall in the air, my usual fruit salad (pineapple, melon, kiwi, & strawberry layered in a glass bowl) didn’t really seem appropriate.
Instead, I turned to some slightly more seasonal fruit. The WF had some gorgeous Honeycrisp apples and Asian pears (on sale-sweet!), and I grabbed a pomegranate, some figs, and a couple of Bartlett pears as well. With a few toasted walnuts on top, I figured I’d be in business for a crunchy, sweet, seasonally-sensitive salad.
I did, however, need to address the whole oxidization issue, which kind of harshed my mellow. While it’s a fall salad, I didn’t want all my fruit to be straight-up brown and mushy. THAT’S not cool.
I figured that an acidic little dressing would help keep the fruit looking its best for at least a little while. Lemon juice was the obvious candidate, but I decided to cut it with boiled cider so all my lovely fall fruits would taste like themselves and not like… lemon. And flavor-wise, this worked out really well. The boiled cider lent autumnal nuance to everything and the lemon brightened and lightened as only it can. If you don’t have boiled cider on hand, I’m sure maple syrup–the REAL thing, if you please–would be lovely as well.
Here’s another hit from my visit to the wilds of Pennsylvania. I had something very much like this soup as a starter at Harvest, one of the Hotel Hershey’s restaurants. It was very good, and like most vegetable puree-type soups, I figured it had to be pretty easy… and it was. Hooray! It’s mild and sweet and earthy; one has to go for that sort of thing, though, particularly since adding more salt won’t make it less sweet, just icky. So, own the mellow sweetness and go to town.
The restaurant’s version was surprisingly creamy, so much so that I wondered what the hell dairy they’d snuck into it. But, to my surprise, my decidedly not “mit schlag” version was similarly voluptuous. Yay for squashy starches in addition to squashy sugars, then. Cool! (In a very NOT hot wings and line dancing sort of way…)
This traditional French sweet marries meltingly tender pears with a fragrantly nutty frangipane in a crisp pâte sucrée. One of the most delicious things to do with those lovely poached pears, it *is* kind of a production, but all the components are actually very easy to make and the tart is ample reward. It might be wise to spread it out, though, as the pears take some time and the crust needs to rest a bit in the freezer. I might suggest poaching the pears and prepping the crust one night, then par-baking the crust while you make the filling before putting it all together.
This is an elegant combination–crunchy, buttery crust; nutty, creamy frangipane; and mellow autumnal fruit–it has a little something for everyone and is almost universally adored. This is one that you’ll be asked for time and again–friends really do ask for it by name. Fortunately, I think, you’ll be all too happy to oblige.
This comes from Dorie Greenspan’s latest (it’s surely already been covered by TWD) and I’ve noted any modifications, mostly inspired by Joe Pastry’s version, in brackets. As noted above, breaking the components out makes for a less harried baking experience, though there’s nothing really difficult about any of it. The crust in particular is quite forgiving, and can just be lightly pressed into the pan instead of rolled out–a boon to novice bakers.